Single Action Frame Sizes

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Jul 16, 2022
Delaware County, NY
I would appreciate an education on the single action frame sizes.

I have a new models type bearcat that is very small and fits my hands nicely, I also have a single six bisley in 32 H&R mag (original blue version, fixed sights) that is easy to to shoot.

What I am wondering is how the blackhawk and new model blackhawk frames compare in size and weight to the single six guns?

I am looking to buy one in 45 LC and there do not seem to be any in my local gun shops to try for myself.

Obviously, I have hands on the smaller size and have heard that the newer blackhawks are relatively large, massive?

Thank you in advance for any guidance.


Uncle Howie

May 28, 2004

Posts #5 and #14 should be particularly helpful to you.⬆️

Keep in mind that here is a difference between “frame” size, and “grip frame” size, as mentioned in post above.

Grip frames are often swappable between frames, if a person wants to customize their revolver.

Here’s a pretty good primer on Ruger grip frame sizes: ⬇️



Ruger Guru
Sep 18, 2002
Lake Lure NC USA
Welcome to the Forum!

As noted above,, you may be confusing the "main" frame, with the "grip frame."

Go to the link about grip frame sizes by Bill Hamm shown above. It's an excellent article on the differences of that part.

The MAIN frame,, there are actually fewer differences.
Bearcat is the smallest.
The Single-Six is next.
Then there's is the often confusing frame sizes of the "mid-frame & full sized frame."
Without going into the Old Model guns, (built prior to 1973,) there are (3) basic frame sizes. You have the "mid sized" frame then the full sized Blackhawk frame. Those are the (2) you will see in general. The third size was ONLY for a few years, and only on the .357 Maximum. It has a larger (mostly longer,) main frame.

That 3rd type has no bearing on your search for a .45 Colt.

In general, all of the normal Blackhawk models will have the larger main frame. But there is confusion due to a mid-sized main framed gun as well. The New Vaquero & I think the Flat Top models have the mid-sized frames.
As such, the (2) general differences in these two frame sizes are the weight, AND the power level they can safely handle.
A full sized Blackhawk (protected ears rear sight, NOT a Flat Top version,) can handle the full power loads and is heavier.

But from your post,, I think you are actually more concerned with the grip frame size. With smaller hands, that's where the "Fit & comfort" I teach comes into play. Outside the Bearcat model,,, the screw hole pattern for all Ruger SA handguns allows for the swapping of grip frames easily. You can put a Single-Six grip frame under a Super Blackhawk .44 mag or via-a-versa. You can put a Bisley grip frame under them as well.

My suggestion.
Decide the power level you desire to use. Buy the gun that will handle what you want to use. THEN you can swap a grip frame onto it to better fit YOUR hands. And if a factory sized g/f isn't to your liking,, Ronnie Wells of RWS grip frames has several options. PLUS,, and this is a big thing,, you can get a set of grip panels to fit YOUR hands easily. Either on a factory g/f or a RW g/f.